Ebonyi State has been rated the highest performer among the 28 participating States in Nigeria in the effective utilization of the World Bank-assisted Community Social Development Programme funding.
The revelation was made on Tuesday by the General Manager of the State’s Community Social Development Agency, Dr. Peter Mbam, during the official flag-off, launching and disbursement of cheques to 59 communities and vulnerable groups under the second phase of its Community Micro-Project financing in Abakaliki.
The event, which was performed by Governor David Umahi at the Akanu Ibiam International Conference Centre, witnessed the disbursement of cheques worth N129.5 million to the 48 benefiting communities and 11 vulnerable groups to commence their priority community micro-projects.
Mbam explained that the total of 146 community projects prioritized by the communities and vulnerable groups were being supported with a whooping sum of N592 million through the World Bank assisted programme for the current phase.
He appreciated Governor Umahi for his political will and support to the Agency as well as all its partners and Staff for their invaluable inputs towards the success of the programme in the State.
While tasking the beneficiaries on prudence and transparency in utilization of the fund, he expressed pride that Ebonyi State was rated highest during the recent evaluation of the Programme in Abuja.
Mbam explained: “On our effort at drawn down on the World Bank Funds, we are proud to report that as at 28th day of February, 2019, we have drawn a total of $4.2 million, which is in excess of our initial nominal allocation of $4.0 million to each of the 28 participating States.
“In fact, Ebonyi State as at the above date, was the highest among the States on project fund draw down.
“The CSDP five-year total World Bank Fund of $140.0 million is put in a common basket and participating States draw from it based on their capacity to perform.
“At the last joint National Meeting of the project, held in Abuja on the 28th of February, 2019, our State got additional allocation of $2.5 million, bringing our current total nominal allocation to $6.5 million.
“We expect more additional allocation to the State before the end of the year to enable us run the project till June 2020 proposed terminal date for the current phase of the project.”
The State Commissioner for Human Capital Development and Economic Empowerment, Uchenna Orji, who supervises the Agency, described the event as a remarkable component of the general empowerment synonymous with the Umahi administration.
Orji chronicled some of the various empowerment schemes of the State Government to include distribution of over 1,000 tricycles to Ebonyians at home and those engaged in hawking in the major cities across Nigeria; business financial grants of N250,000 and above to over 5,000 youths; payment of monthly stipends of N20,000 and above to over 4,000 widows; and N1 million business grant to selected youth under the Millionaire Club scheme.
Orji described the Governor as first among equals in the area of economic empowerment and commended the Agency for driving the CSDP with diligence.
Umahi, disbursing the cheques, charged the CSDP community-based committees to exhibit utmost transparency and commitment in the handling of the projects.
He commended the passion of the Agency”s General Manager, Peter Mbam, toward the growth of the programme in the State, and charged the Agency to further assist in driving the Agricultural loan schemes of the State Government in conjunction with the Central Bank and other federal agencies.